If you care about PR association membership, why not show it?

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has announced the results of the election for the 2001 president and treasurer – with Paul Mylrea (Director of Communications for the Department for International Development) taking on the first role and Sally Sykes (Communications Director for the Health & Safety Executive) retaining the second post.

Congratulations to both.  However, I am bemused why only 504 of the 9,000 membership bothered to cast a vote.

I really don’t understand why anyone who pays money to belong to a professional association doesn’t get involved in some way – and what could be easier than casting a vote?  CIPR even provided a postage paid envelope so all members have to do is tick and lick!

The MIPAA annual election for the Executive Committee has also just been conducted, with the results being announced at the Christmas lunch next Tuesday.  This is conducted online and takes seconds to make a choice.  Although we had a record percentage of the membership voting, it is still a minority who participate.

It is great that people volunteer to take on responsibilities within professional bodies – but it would be even better if more members would show them some support. 

Such institutions really work best with an active membership – paying your subscriptions is not just an exchange relationship in terms of what you get for your money, but involves joining a community and benefiting in more than economic terms.

It may be that many members cannot afford the time or money to volunteer for local committees or attend training or social events – but casting a vote costs nothing, whilst showing those involved in running a body that you care.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

5 thoughts on “If you care about PR association membership, why not show it?”

  1. Indeed, by my quick calculations fewer than 4% of CIPR members voted for the new president. But as the CIPR does very little representation work for its members, we shouldn’t be surprised
    Scott
    framingthedot.wordpress.com

  2. I’m someone who normally votes in everything, but didn’t in this for two reasons. The candidates weren’t known to me and didn’t make very strong cases for themselves. Neither really ‘campaigned’ or presented a coherent differentiating reason to vote for them. Eventually, one of them did (can’t remember the name, but from Glasgow I think). However, by then I could no longer find my voting paper. Electronic voting with a proper presentation by candidates would make it much more likely for people to get engaged. I’ve also been very active in CIPR previously (sat on regional committee, organised events etc), although I’m not at the moment.

  3. I spoke with a few people about this at a motor industry function last night and many agreed with Stuart. Indeed, some felt that the voting slip could easily have been missed as an insert in Profile since people often shake these out over the bin rather than look at them.

    Stuart also raises an interesting point about the candidates and the use of online not only for voting but for canvassing. That’s given me the thought to set up a micro-site for the MIPAA 2011 elections where we could have blog/video thoughts from the candidates over the voting period (which for us is just a week) as well as the voting itself.

    I’m sure it is true that if you don’t know any of the candidates, you are less likely to participate. Although I haven’t met any of the CIPR candidates this year, I did see the PR Week article on Paul and also heard good word of mouth on him – which to me is a strong form of PR endorsement.

    We find in MIPAA that candidates who are not working for car manufacturers find it more difficult to get elected as I suppose if you don’t know someone you look for other reasons to vote and where someone works seems to be an influencer too.

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